There is money in space junk! This company just landed a cool $5 mn contract/investment

Space debris removal startup KMI has secured a $5 mn in contracts and private investment to continue its efforts to clear out orbital debris through innovative methods such as adhesive grappling.

| Updated on: Nov 09 2023, 13:55 IST
Know all about KMI, the space tech startup, which is working to remove space debris. (KMI)
Know all about KMI, the space tech startup, which is working to remove space debris. (KMI)

The low Earth orbits are becoming a dangerous playing field due to the accumulation of space debris. This is the term used to describe defunct human-made objects present in the orbit of the Earth. These include defunct satellites, various launch vehicle stages, fragments of rockets, and other man-made waste. Also known as space junk, it has become a big challenge for space agencies that plan to launch their spacecraft, and organizations that aim to place important satellites in these orbits. But what some look at as a problem, others look at as an opportunity. A space tech startup, Kall Morris Inc. (KMI), is among those who are working to remove this space debris. And recently, it has raised a big amount in contracts and investment money.

According to a report by Payload Space, the startup has secured $5 million in DoD contracts (US Department of Defense contracts) and private investments. As per the report, the contracts secured by KMI include a SpaceWERX STTR Phase II award of $1.5 mn (in-space grappling), another SpaceWERX STTR Phase II award of $1.5M (secondary payload attachments), and a Department of Air Force contract in addition.

KMI gets contracts, investment to remove space debris

KMI operations director Liza Fust told Payload in an email, “As the DoD continues to develop vital In-Space Access, Mobility, and Logistics capabilities to continue ensuring the safe operation of US assets as well as the assets of our allies, KMI is working to exceed their expectations for operational excellence on our contracts now and as we build this network for contracts in the future”.

KMI essentially operates as an on-hire debris cleaning service. It takes orders from commercial companies, space agencies, and the government to remove debris or inactive satellites from the orbits. KMI also has a dedicated website called Privateer where those interested can check the price it will cost them to get debris removed. Typically, these are in the range of $1 million - $45 million.

To remove debris, KMI uses a unique grappling technique in a spacecraft armed with claws that can be extended and can stick to an object using adhesion. It is then pulled out of the orbit and the mission is completed.

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First Published Date: 09 Nov, 13:48 IST